Ari Madoff's E-Mail
Lawyer Ari Madoff reflects on his newly famous last name in an e-mail sent to family and friends.
EXTRA! EXTRA! The Madoff family name besmirched!
Monday, December 15, 2008 at 11:05pm
If Andy Warhol was right, and everyone gets 15 minutes of fame, I want a REFUND on my 15 minutes of fame (or infamy). The past several days I have had an endless barrage of emails asking two questions..I will answer each of these.
1. "What is your relation to Bernard Madoff?"
In short...NONE! If by Bernard Madoff, you mean Bernard L. Madoff, the defrocked former head of NASDAQ who was just indicted on fraud charges related to a Ponzi scheme that is sending ripple effects through the world financial markets, then NO I am not related to Bernard Madoff.
If, on the other hand you are referring to Bernard D. Madoff, the 94 year old yiddish speaking former shoe-salesman currently living in a nursing home in Windsor, Ontario, then YES...YES I AM RELATED. To the former I say "shame on you for besmirching the Madoff name and accompanying family crest...To the latter I say "Ad Meia v'esrim Zaide!".
2. "Is there anything I can do to help with your father's situation"
It turns out that Mr. Bernard Madoff has a son, or perhaps grandson, named Andrew (or perhaps Adam) Madoff. So naturally, I have been bombarded with a slew of emails sent to my gmail account from New Yorkers asking how they can assist with Bernard Madoff's situation. I could milk this and suggest they donate to a new legal defense fund called "Association for legal Relief International to benefit Madoff...." Just make the check out to A.R.I. Madoff...yes, Mr. Schwartenpfeffer, $50,000.00 should do just fine.
Perhaps the worst part of this situation is that I just opened a new business three weeks ago. There is a popular (and only semi-true) adage regarding my line of work: It is something along the lines of "Your only commodity is your reputation". It is entirely possible that Mr. Bernard Madoff (the crook, not you gramps) has caused some people in the community to question my trustworthiness and competence. Okay, so it may not be overt....but then again, if you walked in to your accountants office to pick up your tax forms and you noticed that his name was Abraham Hitler or perhaps Pol Pot Rosenberg or Ya'akov Tzvi Goebbels, don't you think it would give you pause and perhaps cause you to check over your individual returns to ensure that he didn't miss a deduction. Let's just say that I will likely have to abandon some of the tag-lines I was thinking of putting on my new business cards:
"Madoff: The Most Trusted Name in Securities Law"
"Trust, Honesty, Integrity: That's the Madoff Way"
"Madoff: The #1 Name In Fiduciary Relationships"
"Madoff: Trust: Then, Now & Forever"
"Madoff Law: The Cadillac of Law Firms" (This slogan would be double- bad this week)
Instead, I have taken to signing my name Ari "No Relation to Bernard"
Madoff, which is really just short-hand for Ari "No Relation to the Bernard Madoff you are thinking of asking about" Madoff. When introducing myself to clients and co-workers I generally fake a Lebanese accent and introduce myself as some "Ali Madouf"..My father was a French Lebanese Christian, my mother a Shia exchange student during the Iranian revoultion...and the middle name (Rubin), you ask...did I mention my mother was a huge fan of Def Jam Records?...Yeah, that's the ticket.
While I am hoping the storm of press fades in a few days, I am starting to sense that my family name has been tainted beyond salvation. My father called me today and told me that he had a security stoppage put on some of his credit cards. My mother, Shannah Madoff (which incidentally is one of Bernard Madoff's daughter's names, I believe) isn't hearing the end of this. Even my little sister, Avou has already started signing her name "Avou Bladouf", her childhood nickname. I am, therefore, considering a name change myself.
It would be the second consecutive generation of name changes in my family (My mother's maiden name was shared with a famous mafia family in Canada, so she shortened it prior to marriage). Some preliminary ideas:
Ari Mad (doesn't fit my personality)
Ari Ma (better)
Ari ibn-Yakoub Windsori (Techinically correct, but probably won't reduce the scrutiny) Big Foot Still Tie Shoe With Double Loops (my Native American Name) Talula Does the Hula Ari Vicious Indie.Arie
If anyone has any other good ideas for my name change, I would love to hear.
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